Tori-no-Ichi (Day of the Rooster)

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

Tonight, an event known as Tori-no-Ichi is taking place in Asakusa. Held every November on each day of the rooster, over thirty Otori Shrines across Japan host this strange festival. Today is Tori-no-Ichi part one of three, the second installment will be held twelve days from now. The third, a week and a half later. The main focus of the festival is rakes. A special rake known as a ‘kumade’ harnesses the power of a god, and brings with it good financial fortune and prosperity in business.

People here are holding last years kumade, here to return them and replace them with a slightly larger rake. They don’t get a refund for the rake they bought last year; I am not even sure what happens to them; presumably they are resold in twelve days time. These decorated rakes start from the smallest versions, costing around ¥1000 each, to the largest rakes, usually reserved for huge companies, costing around ¥800 million.

Tori-no-Ichi (Day of the Rooster)

I find it somewhat ironic that the more you spend on a kumade, the more wealth you are said to acquire. I will take a small ¥1000 rake and keep my money, thanks. Every time a kumade is sold, a ritual of hand clapping known as ‘tejime’ is performed by the stallholder, and just about everyone else in the vicinity. After walking through a huge market of shops all selling the same thing, I no longer feel as though I am inside the grounds of a shrine. It feels like I am lost in a city of market stalls that stretch infinitely and indefinitely.

Pulled along by a wave of shuffling crowds, my route is decided for me, and I somehow end up at the front of the main shrine. I throw in a ¥100 coin (more expense), ring one of the huge bells, bow twice, clap twice, bow again, before praying, for nothing at all. After praying I am pushed out of the shrine toward one of the side exits. People leave happy with their now blessed kumade, the only thing left for them to do is carry their massive rakes home.

The shrine exits into yet another market.

Tori-no-Ichi (Day of the Rooster)

The market smells incredible, and is mostly stalls selling foods and beverages. For the third time today I am reminded of Christmas. I wander up to one stall selling decorated bananas. Once again etiquette dictates that I have to buy a souvenir, and I can’t think of a better gift than a chocolate coated banana. After handing over ¥300 to the stallholder, he makes a fist with his hand. “One, two, three, rock,” he says. I hold out my hand flat. “Ah, paper, you win!” Brilliant, for the second time this week I win a banana.

Next, a stall selling something that gives off the best smell I have ever experienced. I have to queue a while, perhaps fifteen minutes, all the while salivating as I watch more and more of the delicious looking hot cakes baked before my eyes.

Tori-no-Ichi (Day of the Rooster)

Eventually I reach the front of the queue. I excitedly hand over ¥300, and purchase a bag of twelve delicious hot kasutera. This sponge cake is made from milk, honey, eggs, sugar, and flour, and is now my favorite snack. I will come to Tori-no-Ichi part two, if not just to buy more of this delightful treat.

I head to a shop selling yakisoba; a type of Japanese fried noodle served with vegetables. The stallholder here says that because my eyes are the bluest he has ever seen, he will give me a special, larger serving. I sit on a bench and devour my yakisoba, surrounded by the sights and smells of this huge market.

On my way home I continue my walk through the stalls, and see a shop selling ¥400 baked potatoes. Still slightly hungry, I decide to make one final stop. It turns out the stallholder here doesn’t know how to haggle. I ask for one potato, but he says that I can have four for ¥300 instead. A discount of 25% for four times the potato I asked for. I can’t argue with his wild logic.

Tori-no-Ichi (Day of the Rooster)

With my free banana, free potatoes, and empty bag of kasutera, I realise that for me, the prosperity promised by this festival has instantly started to pay off.

More Information:
- Tori-no-Ichi can be enjoyed on November 5th, November 17th, and November 29th.
- Because the event starts at exactly midnight and runs for twenty-four hours, there is often some confusion about the date and time. For example, the event tonight started at 23:59 on the 4th November, and will run throughout Thursday November 5th, finishing once again at midnight. We recommend that you arrive at 23:30 the day before the event, as most stalls will begin to open around this time.
- The event is absoluetly free (unless you spend money on potatoes or decorated rakes).
- For more details, please visit the official website for Tori-no-Ichi, Asakusa.
- And finally, here is a map:

Need help planning your trip to Japan ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Japan, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Japan


04 Nov 2015

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews

“ Highlights of Tokyo ”

Excellent
1 hour ago Traveler: Ken -   Tour Guide: Keiko

Despite the heavy rains at times, Keiko gave us a tremendous tour of some of the highlights of Tokyo on our 8 hour day with her. She had delightful insights into ll the places we visited and was determined that we were going to have a good time despite the weather. We were very pleased and highly recommend Keiko for her energy and expertise. Ken and Terry Thorsen
read more

“ Kyoto trip in June ”

Excellent
1 hour ago Traveler: Elsa -   Tour Guide: Rick

Rick is a very nice and polite guide. He took care of us, and our preferences. He made sure we had enough time in whatever we wanted to do. He also answered our questions, and was eager to share his knowledge of Kyoto with us. He has a great attitude. Thank you!
read more

“ Fantastic Tour of Kyoto Area ”

Excellent
4 hours ago Traveler: Jeffrey -   Tour Guide: Hiroyuki

Hiroyuki guided my 18-month old daughter, my wife, and I around the beautiful sites of Kyoto and Nara over 3 days. Hiroyuki was highly knowledgeable about the sites, and the tour days he planned were very efficient. Hiroyuki is most welcoming and gracious, and his passion for sharing information shines through in the meticulous manner that he conducts tours. He goes above and beyond, and his tours...
read more

“ Wonderful experience ”

Excellent
10 hours ago Traveler: Huong -   Tour Guide: Dai

Mr. Dai is very professional, knowledgeable, friendly and flexible. My family was very thankful for his service.
read more

“ A great use of time and a very professional guide. ”

Excellent
10 hours ago Traveler: Tim -   Tour Guide: Fuhito

We were in town for a conference and our sightseeing time was somewhat limited. I am so glad we were able to find Fuhito, as he made the full day packed with some of the best arts, culture, dining, history, and just a great day. Fuhito was able to add tremendous value by sharing the whole story of the many sights we visited. We felt like we were getting the inside scoop as he toured us around.
read more

“ Great English , Great Guide ”

Excellent
12 hours ago Traveler: Kris -   Tour Guide: Atsuko

Atsuko is very patient and knowledgeable. She adapted to our group throughout the day. We had two kids and two seniors so we were slower than some groups. Highly recommended. I would hire her again without hesitation. Great guide!
read more

“ Excellent Tokyo highlights tour ”

Excellent
12 hours ago Traveler: Stacy -   Tour Guide: Yumi

Yumi is a wonderful and knowledgeable guide! It was my family’s first time to Tokyo. Without Yumi’s help , navigating Tokyo with children would have been difficult . She catered the tour to the varying ages in our group (from 7-81 yrs) with ease and was still able to cover quite a lot of sites ! Thank you Yumi and hope to meet with you again soon! P.S Thanks for making me try the horse sash...
read more

“ Kyoto Tour ”

Excellent
12 hours ago Traveler: Shizuka -   Tour Guide: Seiko

Seiko was a terrific tour guide! Kyoto is a much bigger city than we realized, and it would have been impossible to visit all of the famous sites without her knowing the best way to get from one place to another. She is very knowledgeable about each location we visited, and made sure that we saw as much as we could in a day. We especially enjoyed our conversations on the train ride to and from Os...
read more

“ Kyoto tour with Kaori ”

Excellent
12 hours ago Traveler: Sharon -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Family of four hired Kaori for a 6 hour tour of some Kyoto highlights. From beginning to end Kaori was super attentive and put together an excellent itinerary. She even recommended and made reservations for a Kaiseki dinner prior to our arrival. I would definitely recommend Kaori as a tour guide.
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started